Moulton Lava

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

SPA vs SPA

Spy vs Spy has long been a cartoon staple of Mad Magazine. The two antagonists perpetually try to outsmart and defeat the other, never appreciating the futility of their mutually hopeless quests and dirty tricks.

The Spy vs Spy drama turns up on Wikipedia as SPA vs SPA, where SPA variously stands for Single Purpose Account or Sock Puppet Account. But because it's so easy to create sock puppets on Wikipedia, the embattled characters turn into micro-armies of warring factions.

Most of the SPAs get wiped out, but some SPA vs SPA dramas turn into epic battles that last for weeks, months, or years. The genre has captured the imagination of more than a few observers and critics, many of whom chronicle the more amusing cases on Wikipedia Review. In at least one case, an SPA has been outed as a real cloak-and-dagger character with alleged connections to Britain's MI5 and/or the US CIA.

4 Comments:

Blogger Skip said...

You may believe that someone can indeed be "outed as a real cloak-and-dagger character" despite their "connections to Britain's MI5 and/or the US CIA" are only "alleged", but I don't. Nor will many others I suspect. Wikipedia's management didn't find the allegation convincing either since that person's account remains in good standing. Repeating groundless rumors that are likely disinformation is not even close to being a wise method way to support an opinion.

So far you've shown yourself to be credulous enough to support a mentally ill troll banned from nearly every internet fora and now a site run and populated almost exclusively with those who have been banned from Wikipedia. And it's not as if you don't have personal score to settle there.

You appear to have followed a very typical trajectory for WikipediaReview denizens, I'm sure your opinions will be welcomed there.

3:17 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

One of the curious features of Wikipedia is that the beliefs of its editors and the contents of its pages are not especially driven by a burning desire to get to the ground truth.

Getting to the ground truth may be an objective of Philosophy or Scientific Research, but Wikipedians have other (sometimes hidden) objectives in mind, and other policies and practices upon which they genuflect and rely.

The Scientific Method has no particular place of prominence in Wikipedia, since that's a tool of Original Research — something decreed verboten on Wikipedia.

The methods of the Wikipedians are at times curiously reminiscent of the methods of the notorious Puritan Elders who orchestrated the Salem Witch Trials.

Elie Wiesel suggests that God invented human beings because He loves a good story.

Umberto Eco says, "Whereof we cannot make a theory, we must tell a story instead."

Wikipedia and these blogs are a rich source of shreklisch drama. There must be a story in there somewhere. And where there is an unfolding story, can a fresh theory be far behind?

4:06 PM  
Blogger Gregory Kohs said...

I am curious who "anonymous Skip" refers to as the "mentally ill troll". Very brave to libel someone (obliquely, at least) from behind an anonymous moniker. Typical Wikipediot.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Skip S. is not entirely anonymous, Greg. He posts from Macy's San Francisco Operations Center.

10:00 PM  

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